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Do Police Officers Need to Read Your Miranda Rights?

Understanding the Legal Protocols for Arrests

In modern television and film, the recitation of Miranda rights is a climactic plot point, showing a criminal being brought to justice – or set free in the event that the defendant was never informed of their rights. Unfortunately, we can’t always believe everything Hollywood teaches us. While failure to “Mirandize” a suspect does impact the case, an individual cannot be released simply because they were not given a Miranda warning.

What Are My Miranda Rights?

Miranda rights protect criminal suspects by requiring law enforcement to remind them of their Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights before any interrogation. This requires the interrogating officer to convey to the accused that:

  • They have the right to an attorney
  • Anything they say can be used against them in court
  • They have the right to an attorney during any questioning
  • A lawyer will be provided for them if they are unable to afford one on their own

When an Officer Must Read Your Rights

If an individual is in custody, they must be read their rights before any questioning can begin. Without reciting these rights, the answers generally cannot be used as evidence in court.

When an Officer Is Not Required to Read Your Rights

Officers are only required to provide a Miranda warning when someone is in police custody. So, if an individual has not yet been arrested, law enforcement can ask questions and use responses as incriminating evidence in court.

What Happens When an Officer Fails to Provide a Miranda Warning

A common misconception is that, if a police officer doesn’t read a suspect their rights, their case is dismissed. While this is untrue, failure to read one’s rights does have an effect on the case. Without a proper Miranda warning, any responses to the ensuing interrogation will generally be ruled inadmissible in court.

For more information about your rights, and help defending them, contact Hester Law Group.

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